Astrid Dahl’s work is deeply involved with typography and geology, but not in the traditional sense of categorization, pinning down or boxing in. Her work goes beyond the visual, capturing the deep spiritual nature of land, with luminous seas and shifting archaic tides. She uses the layering of textures, pattern making and earth colours as a way of mapping the contextual strata of the landscape, both ancient and historical. At the same time, there is a rhythm distinct to each work that extends beyond the flat plain of the canvas, and becomes part of its environment.
"My work as an environmental and landscape painter reflects a natural human yearning to interact with the land, its energy, beauty and light, and its darkness.
'Physical inspiration for my works, are taken from The Little Desert, in W.A, and the vast expanse of the Nullarbor Plains that stretches between South Australia and Western Australia. The human-being is not represented in my work, but I acknowledge human existence through my own endeavors, painting the visible and the invisible.
'Each painting is arrived at through a unique unpredictable random process as I present individual crystallized thoughts based on landscaped memory. I respond to that moment in time when life’s energy pushes forward through the communal well of experiences. Although each work is not inextricably bound to the last, certain elements link them together besides paint application, colour, and texture. Another less obvious, intrinsic element is the importance of nature to me. Nature gives us humanity, a sense of belonging through natural history and a global view that is greater than human endeavor. Being part of that ‘life force’; the “macro” and the microscopic elements, we all walk this ancient earth on that delicately balanced line between good and evil, lightness and darkness. I try to tread lightly.
‘The process begins with having my canvas stretched on custom made timber frames. A component of textured medium is applied first as I map out the painting. The designs are from memory and photographs taken on site along with gathered rocks, sand, seed pods, and other organic material which act as a reminder of the landscape locations. These are laid out on a table as I prepare the painting. Occasionally I do quick sketches to help me remember a certain element that can’t be captured on film. I then apply inks, dyes, water based paints, and acrylics over the textured design. These are set in an acrylic painting medium. When dry, the painting is brought to the easel where I begin to orchestrate the colour symphony of rich oil paint, mixed on my glass top palette. A beeswax varnish completes the cycle. The painting is extended around the edges to create its own boundary.’ - Astrid Dahl